What is the Evidence for Medical Marijuana Treatment for HIV/AIDS Symptoms?

medical marijuana treatment

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in using medical marijuana for various health conditions, including HIV/AIDS. This is significant because approximately 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Yet, shockingly, about 13 percent of them are unaware of their status and need testing. 

While the topic of medical marijuana treatment for HIV may still be controversial, the evidence suggests that it can relieve a range of symptoms associated with the disease.  So, let’s take a closer look at the evidence and explore the benefits of medical marijuana treatment for HIV.

HIV Nerve Pain and Medical Marijuana Treatment 

For those living with HIV, peripheral neuropathy or nerve pain can be an excruciatingly painful and distressing condition that can significantly impact their quality of life. The nerve damage can cause sensations like burning, stabbing, or tingling in the hands and feet, making even the simplest daily activities challenging. Additionally, HIV and antiretroviral medications can trigger peripheral neuropathy, compounding the problem further.

While research on using medical marijuana for HIV-related nerve pain is relatively limited, existing studies suggest that medical marijuana may offer a promising alternative to traditional treatments. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, has been shown to alleviate nerve-related pain in people with cancer, so it’s reasonable to assume that it could have similar effects on HIV-related nerve pain, but it requires further study to confirm.

In one survey of 565 people living with HIV, a significant majority reported improvements in nerve pain after using medical marijuana. Though this study is not definitive, it provides hope that medical marijuana may relieve HIV patients experiencing peripheral neuropathy.

While the exact mechanisms behind how medical marijuana treats nerve pain are still being researched, it’s thought that the cannabinoids in marijuana, including THC, have pain-relieving properties. 

HIV-related weight loss, also known as wasting syndrome, is a common symptom of HIV. Medical marijuana has shown potential in stimulating appetite and managing this symptom. In a small study, participants reported increased appetite after using marijuana, which may be attributed to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana known to promote hunger. The FDA has also approved dronabinol, a prescription drug containing THC, to stimulate appetite in people with HIV.

While medical marijuana may help individuals experiencing HIV-related weight loss, it should not be viewed as a substitute for a healthy diet or other treatments for HIV. Patients should work closely with their healthcare provider to determine if medical marijuana is suitable and receive proper guidance on dosage and potential interactions with other medications.

Does Marijuana Affect Antiretroviral Medications? 

It is unclear how medical marijuana may affect HIV patients’ use of antiretroviral drugs. Marijuana usage may have little to no impact on viral suppression, according to some studies, but other research has found the opposite to be true. On the other hand, a study revealed that marijuana usage might make it more difficult to take medications as prescribed and receive enough medical attention.

More research is needed to identify the potential impacts of medical marijuana on antiretroviral drugs in light of the conflicting results. 

Talk to Your Doctor about Medical Marijuana Treatment for HIV/AIDS Symptoms 

If you are considering medical marijuana treatment for HIV/AIDS symptoms, it is essential to talk to your doctor first. Your healthcare provider can help determine whether medical marijuana is a safe and effective option for your specific condition. 

During your appointment with your healthcare provider, be prepared to discuss your medical history, current medications, and any symptoms you are experiencing. You should also ask any questions about medical marijuana treatment and share any concerns.

At Pause Pain & Wellness, we understand the importance of compliance with Mississippi law when it comes to medical marijuana treatment. That’s why we go above and beyond to ensure you have all the support you need to keep your medical marijuana card for as long as needed.

Contact us today at 833-940-5060 to schedule your appointment and discover how medical marijuana treatment can help you feel your best. Your health and well-being are our top priorities, and we’re committed to helping you achieve the relief you deserve.